Last week, I wrote about ways a person could know if they or someone else could be suffering from depression. I talked about the severity and frequency of the disease, especially in today’s culture. If you are suffering with a diagnosed depressive disorder, you are most certainly not alone.
With that said, I heard one of our doctors say at the clinic that I am currently interning with, we can often misdiagnose patients with depression when there is actually an underlying physical health issue. The doctor was insisting that someone may be experiencing depressive symptoms, but may not need to be diagnosed with an actual depressive disorder. On the contrary, the person could have a problem with their physical health, such as high blood pressure or a thyroid condition as the underlying factor for the client’s troubles. Thus, the mental disorder is not the root cause of someone’s naturally assumed problem.
That doctor's assessment process got me thinking about Christians and the Church today, and how I feel we do the same thing to people we are attempting to minister to. We won’t consider the “whole” picture of a struggling person, and instead immediately look for a certain, hidden sin in that person or start praying against the devil’s hold on that person’s life. Don’t misunderstand me, I do think that we we can underestimate the power and motivation of unseen, demonic forces. But I also believe that a lot of time our struggles may not be the devil, but could be all the sweet tea we're drinking on a daily basis.
I’m not going to write about how awful sugar is and claim sugar as the problem for every person’s problems, but I do think that we, as the Church, need to be careful in how we approach a person's struggles. Every person is unique. Oftentimes, a person’s struggles in life are not clear-cut issues that are simple fixes, where we tell a person that all they need is Jesus and pray for them. Yes, let’s pray and seek out ways for people to crave for and live with more of Jesus’ presence in their life, because that is the ultimate goal for every person. But when trying to help someone, let’s ALSO look at the rest of the picture in that human being's particular situation. How are a person’s eating habits? Are they honoring God with their food intake? Are they exercising and thereby, pumping literal God-given calming drugs into their body every time they exercise? Are they honoring their spouse, and therefore aiding a peaceful home environment? How much time are they spending on their smart phones or social media? Does he or she have faulty thinking patterns that may call for a professional’s help in re-wiring their literal brain?
Or do they just need to stop drinking so much dang sweet tea?